A half-century by AB de Villiers took South Africa into what could prove to be a valuable lead on the second day of the first Test at SuperSport Park here on Friday.
South Africa were 257 for five at tea, a lead of 77 after Sri Lanka were bowled out for 180 in the first innings.
On a day when batsmen continued to struggle on a difficult pitch, De Villiers made 56 not out. He shared an unbroken sixth wicket partnership of 84 with Ashwell Prince (38 not out).
Star South African batsmnan Jacques Kallis was the most notable victim of a pitch with uneven bounce.
Shortly before lunch he ducked into a bouncer from Dilhara Fernando, which barely rose above stump height, and took a heavy blow on the left earpiece of his batting helmet.
He collapsed next to the pitch but after receiving treatment for seven minutes he carried on batting.
He was on 25 when he was hit, on 27 when he was dropped by wicketkeeper Kaushal Silva off Fernando and was out for 31 shortly after lunch, caught at third slip off Chanaka Welegedera. Silva also dropped Prince, on 26 off left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.
Brief Scores: SL 180 v SA 257 for five (Smith 61, De Villiers 56 no)